“Grind culture” or “hustle culture”: what is it and why are we so hooked on it? A New York Times article defines it as “performative workaholism” — it’s basically being obsessed with striving and getting ahead.
It’s no secret that the grind can come with great success — but there’s an ugly side to it too. When grind culture blurs the line between life and work, how can we keep hustling while not letting it consume us?
Drawing the line between life and work
There’s nothing wrong with having a stellar work ethic, but without balance, it’s unhealthy. There’s a way we can use this “hustle drive” to our advantage without needing to invest all our time working. We should all ask ourselves: are we striving to thrive or struggling to survive in this culture?
Why we choose to grind
Grind culture sets expectations that we should all have everything figured out at a young age, so when — like many young people — we don’t know exactly what you’re doing, that can be a huge source of stress. Oftentimes, we fill this void by dedicating ourselves to something, at times, anything.
Meanwhile, the pictures of success on your feed can lead you down a comparison spiral. When all your peers seem to be doing so much better than you, you can easily get consumed by the need to measure up. We often forget that these snapshots don’t reflect the reality, and that behind all of these success stories are real struggles.
So how can we find success?
There’s no one way to do it. Hustle your way, at your pace, and for what you want. What helps you stay productive may not be the same for someone else. Try molding the hustle into an experience that maximizes YOUR growth.
Competition isn’t a bad thing
The right dose of competition goes a long way. When left unchecked, comparing yourself to others can easily get toxic. But if you’re mindful about it, you can use competition as motivation.
“If they can do it, then I can do it too.” Seeing fellow peers reach an achievement is great fuel to keep us going towards our own goals. Don’t let it bring you down — use it to take you further instead!
Success is not a race
Life isn’t about one-upping each other. It’s not even about reaching society’s definition of “success”. Even the smallestwins (at work, school, or personal) are successes that are already worth celebrating!
There’s so much to discover outside the small bubble of “the hustle” and it’s okay not to have everything figured out. That doesn’t make us any less than others.
Know your priorities
Focusing so much on working and succeeding can quickly make us stressed and overwhelmed. It could even lead us to lose sight of taking care of our own well-being.
It’s possible to have good mental health when hustling. It’s all about priorities. By prioritizing our mental health, we’ll be able to set boundaries so work won’t feel so heavy or burdensome. Instead of becoming a slave to the grind, you can be a productive individual in tip-top shape to get the job(s) done.
Learn when to hit the brakes
Working hard is admirable, but it doesn’t have to consume you. Friends, family, hobbies, and REST are worth your time too. Give yourself the same care and focus you put in the hustle. You don’t have to feel guilty when taking a break, it’s not a setback nor is it laziness. Time to recharge and re-energize will let you work better too.
Strike that balance
Work, work, work shouldn’t be on your mind 24/7. Life is more than work, and you don’t want to miss what it has to offer. Even if work won’t allow for you to hit that pause button for long periods of time, maximize the small moments where you can take a breather. Work to live and not the other way around. It may not be easy, but you can turn your hustle into success AND happiness if you strike the right balance.
How is the grind affecting your mental health? Got any tips to balance things out?